Convened in the Fall of 2013, the Alumni Council is charged with advising Alumni Director Nate Wambold, who conducted this interview with Tim Bouffard (’89) on his new role as Council President.
NW: Tim, how would you describe Cairn’s influence on you?
TB: Much of what we experience in life influences and shapes us in significant ways. Some experiences have an immediate impact, while the impact of other experiences may not be realized for some time. My time at Cairn University was unique in that it had both an immediate and ongoing influence. The course work, the professors and staff, dorm life, friends, and ministry experiences all produced changes in me as a person and continue to influence my relationships, work, goals and my heart in the present. I am grateful to God that he used my Cairn experience for my good and His glory.
NW: That’s very encouraging. What are some of the specific ways you can point to—even today—that you have been impacted?
TB: Having received three different degrees from Cairn, I have been equipped and strengthened in my vocation as a pastor in a local church. When I meet with a growing believer, I am reminded of professors and staff members who encouraged me spiritually – people like Bob Marquardt and Larry McKinney. When I prepare a sermon, I am reminded of Roger Petersen who challenged me to develop speaking and preaching skills. When I challenge a young person to pursue higher education, I am reminded of Don McCullough who challenged me in a similar way. When I counsel a person suffering because of personal loss or personal sin, I am reminded of Penny Freeman, Jeff Black, Jim Meyer and others who carefully counseled and trained me. And I am often reminded of fellow students who encouraged and loved me, some of whom continue to be a blessing to me today. All of this is God’s sovereign guidance, resulting in legacy of passing on the faith, spurring others to love and good deeds and serving in the kingdom of God.
NW: You represent alumni well in pointing to the impact specific professors have made on you. This has always been the case at Cairn. A few of the professors you had are still even teaching at Cairn, but I am sure our recent grads would point to some of these and more recent professors too, who are making similar impacts. Now be honest, why are you serving on the alumni council and what has stirred in you a willingness to take on the role of Council President? Yes, I asked you, and yes, the Council approved, but…
TB: Serving on the Cairn University Alumni Council has provided me and the other council members not only with an opportunity to influence alumni relations in positive ways, but has also given us all a better understanding of the University’s mission and the commitment of its leaders to that mission. I am personally excited about Cairn’s mission and believe that Cairn alumni possess the education, practical skills and spiritual character to fulfill God’s purposes in the world. That is no small thing and I am looking forward to encouraging and supporting alumni in this endeavor.
NW: This is a great motivation. Now can you share a bit about your background?
TB: I have been in pastoral ministry since graduating from Cairn in 1989, serving in a church in western New York for over 10 years and in a church in western Berks County, Pennsylvania for the last 15 years. By God’s grace and help, and with an emphasis on relationship-oriented discipleship versus program-oriented discipleship, I seek to meet the practical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of the people in our church as well as equip and empower people to make disciples of others. My education equipped me to build meaningful relationships, preach biblically-derived sermons, teach integrated and Christ-centered psycho-educational material, and provide caring and character-centered counseling in my vocation as a pastor.
My time at Cairn University was unique in that it had both an immediate and ongoing influence.
NW: You also have a family to tend to, right? Where are they and what are they up to?
TB:In all of this, my wife Amy (Lacock, ’89) has been a supportive partner, using her Cairn education and experience to disciple others and homeschool our four sons, all of whom are currently active in using their gifts and abilities in serving God and others. Tyler, 22, is an entrepreneur and disciples teens in the church; Trenton, 21, also disciples students, uses his musical gifts and is apprenticing with a professional piano tuner; Troy, 19, uses his musical abilities and provides support for computer software tools used in the church as he pursues a degree in computer science; and Tate, 17, who is finishing his high school education and is pursuing a career in photography, is also active in both the technical and practical aspects of the corporate worship of our church.
NW: This must be great to have your entire family supporting your work. And what do you do for recreation?
TB: I like to spend time with people, write, bike, and ski in addition to a growing interest in cooking. I also enjoy (and find very therapeutic) typical home chores such as lawn mowing, simple landscaping and cutting, splitting and stacking firewood.
See the names and eras of the other Alumni Council members as printed in the last Cairn Magazine. In the future, we’ll have more on these outstanding men and women who’ve agreed to serve.